Porta San Giovanni, San Gimignano
Walk down the main street of the town to its south end and come to the Port San Giovanni and beyond it to the bus stop and perhaps a place to park. Since on our last trip we stayed at the Bianco Bianco which allowed us to drive into the covered garage next door rghy on the Piazza del Cisterna.
The most important of the city gates of San Gimignano, Porta San Giovanni lies at the southern end of the fortified wall. The road from here reached Siena along Via Francigena, the famous pilgrim road which eventually led to Rome. Anyone approaching from Siena, even nowadays, would likely enter the city through this gate. The structure itself was built in 1262 and it leads into Via San Giovanni, one of the main streets in San Gimignano. Towering above the gate is the small campanile, or bell tower, of la Chiesa della Madonna dei Lumi, a church built in 1601 but partially destroyed in 1922 to cut the road through.
Porta San Giovanni is the gateway to the town from the south (Siena). It was built in 1262 with a senese arch and a upper lodge. It is the most beautiful gateway of San Giminiano.
On its sides, in 1601, was erected the nave of the church of Madonna dei Lumi which was partly demolished in 1922
San Gimignano is surrounded by the ancient walls which stretch for 2.176 metres. The walls are crossed by numerous gates and Porta San Giovanni is the most imposing one. The gate was originally built in 1237 and, after being demolished, rebuilt in 1262 when the Ghibellines regained power. The interior of the gate was subject to renovation work in 1921, when the superstructures added following the construction of a church Madonna dei Lumi was eliminated.
St John's Gate is probably the first thing that most visitors see when they first arrive in San Gimignano as its near a couple of big car parks at the southern end of the town. The gate was built by the Sienese in 1261.
As the town is surrounded by a wall you'll have to enter via one of the gates. Porta San Giovanni is the southern gate that leads you to the centre via the old part of the town.